Report Your Neighbour – If They Have a Great Garden!

You’re being encouraged to report your neighbours if their gardens deserve recognition and reward.

Last year, Shaftesbury in Bloom celebrated the hard work of dozens of residents who had enhanced their outdoor space. “We gave out around seventy certificates, so that’s quite a good number of people who made an effort,” said committee member Derek Beer.

Since 1985, SIB volunteers have raised funds so they can plan and maintain the flowerbeds, baskets and floral displays that brighten up the town. The group’s responsibilities include looking after the sensory garden next to the Library and the flowers in the Angel Lane Car Park. Derek says they have plans to replace the floral letters on the Royal Chase Roundabout, but he’s remaining tight-lipped about that special project.

In the past, Royal Mail workers have recommended great gardens for the awards. “For a number of years was asked the postman to nominate. That was quite good,” said Derek. But this year Derek wants locals’ ‘tip offs’. “We want to hear about unusual containers, the best hanging baskets, the best hidden gardens and children’s gardens,” Derek said.

Derek Beer

Derek says the group wants to reward effort. “I’ve always thought it’s important for neighbours to talk about and show off the gardens that they appreciate next door. People will rarely ‘trumpet’ their own gardens. We’re all about people paying respects to the people next door and lifting morale locally,” Derek said.

The team of judges will take each gardener’s situation into account before making an award. “We will look at how they achieve it and whether it is sustainable or not,” Derek said. “It could be a brand-new garden where people are really struggling with the rubble or it could be something that someone has looked after since the war. Everything is different and we band it according to the effort put in,” he said.

The award ranking also takes people’s varying levels of gardening skill and ability into account. “We are awarding first, second or third places,” Derek advised. “If you have a great garden you get a gold award. If it’s good, but not so good, it’s silver and so on.”

Derek says there are enough judges to assess gardens across the entire town, from St James to the Maltings. Volunteers will score the nominated gardens from 8th July. “All of the people are either involved with Shaftesbury in Bloom or they have pretty good horticultural experience. Except for me. I have got none,” Derek said modestly. In fact, Derek has been asked to judge some of this year’s Britain in Bloom entries in Bournemouth, Havant and Gillingham!

If someone in your street, lane or close deserves commendation for their green-fingered efforts, contact Derek with their address details this week. You can reach Derek at The John Peel Café on the High Street or on email at